PHILADELPHIA (AP) - American women are staying home from work, zipping up their wallets, wearing red and attending rallies across the country to show their economic strength and impact on society as part of International Women's Day celebrations happening across the globe Wednesday.
"A Day Without a Woman" is the first major action by organizers of the Women's March since the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration, when millions of women poured into the streets in protest of misogyny, inequality and oppression.
The event coincides with the U.N.-designated International Women's Day. German airline Lufthansa had six all-female crews flying from several cities in the country to Berlin. Sweden's women's football team replaced the names on the back of their jerseys with tweets from Swedish women "who have struggled to gain ground in their respective field." Finland announced plans to create a $160,000 International Gender Equality Prize. Women also held rallies in Tokyo and Madrid.
In the U.S., spokeswoman Cassady Findlay said organizers for "A Day Without a Woman" were inspired by the recent "Day Without an Immigrant" protests held last month. She said the action is aimed at highlighting the effect of women on the country's socio-economic system and demonstrating how the paid and unpaid work of women keeps households, communities and economies running.
"We provide all this value and keep the system going and receive unequal benefits from it," Findlay said.
Findlay said it is important for white women to be in solidarity with minority women.
"Throughout history, the strikes that have the biggest impact are the ones when people who are already the target of oppression participate," she said. "It's when women of all backgrounds strike and stand together that we're really going to see the impact."
Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday and asked followers to join him in "honoring the critical role of women" in the U.S. and around the world. He tweeted that he has "tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy."
Ivanka Trump echoed her father's sentiments, tweeting: "Today, we celebrate women and are reminded of our collective voice and the powerful impact we have on our societies and economies."
Unlike the Women's March, Wednesday's U.S. protests focus on the absence of women, who are being steered to local rallies and community groups and away from work or shopping in stores or online. Organizers also are asking women to wear red to signify love and sacrifice.
In New York, organizers are planning a gathering in Central Park. International Women's Day rallies also are planned in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Washington and Berkeley, California.
Some businesses and institutions have said they will either close or give female employees the day off.
School districts including Prince George's County in Maryland, the Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia and Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools in North Carolina have canceled classes in anticipation of employee participation. In Utah, as many as 1,000 women are expected to gather at the Capitol to remind lawmakers they are watching their actions on women's issues.
In Providence, Rhode Island, the municipal court plans to close because the demonstration in the city would leave the court without enough staff to open. Lovely Monkey Tattoo, a female-owned tattoo parlor in Whitmore Lake, Michigan, is offering female-centric tattoos with messages like, "Nevertheless, She Persisted" for $50 to $100, with proceeds going to the Ann Arbor chapter of Planned Parenthood.
The role of women in American society is significant. According to the U.S. Census, women make up more than 47 percent of the workforce and are dominant in professions including registered nurses, dental assistants, cashiers, accountants and pharmacists. They make up at least a third of physicians and surgeons, as well as lawyers and judges. Women also represent 55 percent of all college students.
Still, American women continue to be paid less than men, earning 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. The median income for women was $40,742 in 2015, compared with $51,212 for men, according to census data.